By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF —Lourdes Catholic School fifth-grader Adam Nikulski attended the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., at the invitation of the National Youth Leadership Forum: Pathways to STEM.
Jennifer Alongi, Lourdes’ principal, nominated Adam when he was a fourth-grader to attend the summer leadership program held at Loyola University in Chicago. She said she nominated several students and Adam’s parents chose to enroll him in the leadership program.
“I selected Adam because of his academic achievement, leadership potential, maturity and natural curiosity. As a result of his experience he showed growth and development in several leadership areas like teambuilding, presentation skills communication, problem solving and goal setting. … He was among what I understand to be a few select participants invited over the summer to attend the presidential inauguration in January. I was thrilled that one of our Lourdes Catholic School students was able to attend this historical event.”
Adam and his mom, Gail Nikulski, left the Quad-Cities on Jan. 18 and returned Jan. 22. The trip also involved work and some sightseeing. Adam said that when he and his family first received the invitation to attend the inauguration his mom thought it was a scam. After his family confirmed that the invitation was legitimate, he said he was quite excited.
On the morning of Jan. 20, Adam said the family woke up around 3 a.m., had breakfast and were on the road to the White House with the leadership forum group by 4:30 a.m. After getting dropped off and going through security, Adam and the others stood for several hours before the inauguration ceremony began.
Although excited to be at the inauguration, Adam said he was a little disappointed at how far away he was from the podium. “I could see flags and dots for heads.” He watched some of the ceremony on the “jumbotran” screens. The audio wasn’t the best. “But being there was worth it,” Adam said.
Besides attending the inauguration, he listened to several speakers at the EagleBank Arena in the nation’s capital, including Spike Lee, Martin O’Malley and soccer player Abby Wambach. He also visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Air & Space Museum near Dulles Airport).
His participation included doing some work for the leadership summit group, but Adam said he was honored to be selected and would like to attend a future presidential inauguration ceremony.